Despite the availability, accessibility, and improvement of technology, project management is a growing career. The need for planning, organizing, and executing projects from start to finish requires a professional with the right level of experience, skill set, knowledge, and emotional intelligence.
Furthermore, a successful and professional project manager knows how to apply the skills, tools, and people to all project activities.
However, even in a day and age when professional project managers are in high demand, software and technology with robust automation functionalities and artificial intelligence have many project managers worried about the unemployment line.
Regardless of the improvement and availability of AI software, project managers bring a level of creativity and emotional intelligence to the table that machines cannot replicate.
However, if you are still worried about the future of your career, there are ways are things you can do to back up your knowledge and experience, future-proof your career, and give you a competitive edge that allows you to weather the economic storm.
In this article, we will give you some information about why project management training and earning your official PMP certification is important, the PMP exam itself, and how you can gain a competitive edge.
What is the PMP Certification, Exactly?
The PMP credential is the most well-known and globally-recognized certification program for project managers. The Project Management Institute (PMI) is an organization that oversees the PMP program. Project managers who earn their official PMP credential can earn up to 20 percent more each year than their peers.
The PMP exam is incredibly challenging. Many of the PMP exam questions are highly technical, and most cannot be learned on the job. Many project managers with decades of experience still fail the PMP exam simply because they cannot recall specific terms.
In fact, between 40 and 50 percent of first-time PMP exam test takers fail. There is also little information on the number of correct questions needed to pass the exam, and the exact PMP exam pass rate.
However, don’t give up hope or get discouraged. If your end goal is to take the PMP exam and earn your official PMP certification, then it’s important to be prepared and understand how project management training courses differ from PMP exam prep courses.
Here are some ways a PMP exam prep course differs from a basic or traditional project management training course:
1. Common Terms and Vocabulary.
Depending on your experience level or your exposure to the project management techniques outlined in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide, you may be familiar with certain technical technology, such as various schedule management methods (critical chain and critical path methods), cost management formulas, estimating tools (analogous estimating and parametric estimating), and the various charts and visual aids used to support those techniques.
A PMP exam prep course will review the necessary terms, techniques, formulas, and methods outlined in the PMBOK Guide to a ‘T” to ensure you have a good understanding of them prior to taking the exam.
2. Work with a PMP-Certified Instructor.
The instructor leading the PMP exam prep course should be PMP certified and should have years of experience in PMP certification and project management training. Working with a PMP-certified instructor will not only help guide you in the right direction in terms of preparing for the exam, but he or she will also be able to give you first-hand advice on what to expect when taking the exam.
3. Discussions and Analysis.
When taking a PMP exam prep course or any basic project management training course, you will get exposure to the questions on the PMP exam as well as learn about various scenarios that a project manager will encounter throughout his or her career.
By participating in these discussions and learning how to analyze and problem-solve various scenarios, you will gain the necessary experience, knowledge, and competitive edge you need to accelerate your project management career.
4. Practice Exam Questions and Exam Simulations.
By taking a PMP exam prep course, you will be able to familiarize yourself with hundreds of sample exam questions and even have the opportunity to take a mock PMP exam or a simulated test. This will help you to learn about the different types of questions on the exam, how they are worded, how the exam is structured, so you know what to expect when you go to take the real exam.
5. Post-Review Sessions.
After each mock exam, you will have the opportunity to participate in post-review sessions and discussions that allow you to discuss the test with peers and your instructor. The instructors will also be available to help you analyze your answers and how you can better prepare and improve your performance.
6. Establish a Training Schedule.
Many PMP exam prep courses and project management training courses are self-paced; some have fixed training schedules. Depending on your needs, a fixed schedule cab help professionals plan their study periods and pace their learning according to their schedules.
7. Professional Resources.
Regardless of whether you want to earn your official PMP exam or take a project management training course to learn and develop new skills, you will likely walk away with a handful of professional resources you can refer to in your day-to-day job.
How Does A PMP Certification and Project Management Training Give You a Competitive Edge?
Now that you understand some key differences between a PMP exam prep course and a basic project management training course, how exactly do both types of training courses give you a competitive edge over day-to-day, on-the-job experience?
Of course, no training course can compare to real life and real-world experience; however, learning about key terms and project management techniques, and how to apply them to every-day scenarios will allow you to become a better and more efficient project manager. This will also position you as a more valuable asset to your business or organization.
Let’s say that you are trying to move up into a senior project manager or a program manager role in your organization, and you are up against several of your peers. If you have your PMP certification, this will not only give you a competitive advantage over your other peers, but it will also earn you a higher salary.
Even if you don’t have your PMP certification, but you have some project management training courses under your belt, these are still great resume-builders and are certainly qualifications you can bring to the “interview” table when it is time for your annual performance review or a possible promotion.
When it comes down for executives or managers to make a decision about who will be the best fit for the job, who do you think they will choose?
Where to Find PMP Certification Exam Prep Courses
One of the best project management training courses and PMP exam prep courses available to both experienced and aspiring project managers is with Project Vanguards. Project Vanguards offers a wide range of professional training and resources to help individuals learn new skills as well as thoroughly prepare for the PMP exam. In fact, Project Vanguards also guarantees a 100 percent first-time pass rate.
Here is a snapshot of what is covered in the PMP exam prep course offered by Project Vanguards:
Day 1: Intro to Course, Curriculum, Foundational Concepts and Definitions
Day 2: Integration Mgmt
Day 3: Scope Mgmt
Day 4: Time Mgmt
Day 5: Cost Mgmt
Day 6: Quality Mgmt
Day 7: Human Resource Mgmt
Day 8: Communications Mgmt
Day 9: Risk Mgmt
Day 10: Procurements Mgmt
Day 11: Stakeholder Mgmt, How to Fill Out PMP Exam Application
Day 12: How to Pass the PMP Exam, 100 Question Practice Exam
You will also receive a wide range of digital and hard copy resources to help you learn, study, and prepare for the PMP exam, such as audio CDs, flash cards with key terminology, workbooks and study guides, and more.
What Happens After the PMP Exam?
If you take the PMP exam and earn your PMP certification, your job is done, right? Wrong. According to the PMI, PMP-certified project managers must earn a certain number of PDUs every three years to keep their certifications in good standing and relevant.
No, this doesn’t mean that you have to retake the PMP exam, but it does mean that you have to take courses to earn PDUs. If you enroll in a PMP exam prep course with Project Vanguards, then you gain access to free PDUs for life to help you easily and conveniently maintain your PMP certification.
Beat the Competition By Earning Your PMP Certification
As we mentioned above, project management knowledge, skills, and experience are all incredibly important in business today. And regardless of what and how technology improves, there will continue to be a need for professional project managers.
In fact, despite the negative news headlines out there, the annual “Salary and Market Trends Survey” published by Undercover Recruiter show that nearly 77 percent of project management professionals are optimistic about the future and the availability of jobs. Furthermore, 70 percent of project management professionals expect pay increases in the next 12 months.
Yes, boosting your project management training, knowledge, and skills, and earning your PMP certification requires a commitment and an investment in terms of time and money. However, you are solidifying the longevity and credibility of your career. Furthermore, your education and professional development are always worth the investment.